Thursday, May 29, 2008

Faux Sweet Treats - Yummy Enough to Eat

I would love to say I spent all morning baking up these lovely delectibles... but the truth is they are faux treats! They look so real and so very yummy. The cake looks marvelous on this pink glass cake stand.
And this tall creation with the pink icing is paired with a shabby vintage transferware plate. The glass cloche was added later and I think makes it even more precious.

And who doesn't want to gobble these two goodies right up? The pink "icing" roses do it for me.

All just listed in Bella Rosa. Mmmmmmmmm......

Early Antique Cookie Cutters ~ Pennsylvania Dutch

Antiques fascinate me. I think about who may have used them and why...and what life may have been like at the time they were made.

These antique cookie cutters are no exception. Probably from the 19th century these two cutters have a lot of history behind them. I would guess they made lots and lots of Christmas cookies or treats for birthdays, etc. Maybe even to make ornaments to hang on a tree.

The vintage patina on them says it all. For being made out of tin, they have stood the test of time. I wonder if I would be in such great condition!

Since I really don't have a kitchenware category on the Bella Rosa Antiques website...I may try and sell these on ebay. Maybe someone who collects this type of early primitive kitchen tool will be thrilled with them. I know I've enjoyed learning more about their past!

In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment about a cookie cutter collection you may have, a story about baking with your Grandma, or maybe a family tradition you have about cookies!

Thanks for stopping by. Have a Bella day!

(Note: The cookie cutters have since sold)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Antique Skeleton Keys - Unlocking Their Mystery

There is something neat about old vintage keys like the skeleton keys seen in the photo above.
You may have an older home with the antique locks still in them. But if you are like the rest of us, your probably just have fun collecting them.

I think the "key to unlocking" their mystery is figuring out how to display them. They can become decorative pieces by themselves or in a picture frame. Here we tied them up in vintage seam binding which softens them up a little bit and adds color.

Some people add them to necklaces or make pins out of them. Collages would looke nice too.
My favorite way to display them is collecting several different types and putting them on a vintage key ring or ribbon and laying them on top of old books or among my bookshelves.

The keys above are available in our store, Bella Rosa Antiques, and I do believe they are brass.

What ideas do you have for collecting vintage keys? Feel free to leave me a comment.

Friday, May 23, 2008

History of Memorial Day - Civil War

One of the topics close to my heart is the Civil War. Now this may seem like a strange or morbid thing to feel a connection to. Ever since my Father and I did some geneology research and discovered my Great Great Grandfather was part of the New York Infantry from the beginning in 1861, I became very interested.

I'm also getting older, which could be another reason. The Civil War really didn't appeal to me very much during my college years or even in school when we were learning about it. Maybe if I had known then what I know now, I may have felt different.

But now, now things have definitely changed.

And with Memorial Day I thought I would give you a chance to read a little bit more on how it all started.

It honored those who lost their lives in the Civil War. It was a devastating war with about 620,000 Americans losing their lives from the North and the South.

It was also not called Memorial Day in the beginning. It was actually named "Decoration Day." Many people were decorating the tombstones, markers, and buildings to remember those they had lost and loved. Groups of women of course, were doing the decorating.

Different towns have staked their claim as to having the first Decoration early as 1866. It wasn't until a hundred years later in 1966 when President Johnson finally settled the dispute by giving the honor to Waterloo, NY.

The whole article can be found here.

My Father and I are proud of our ancestor, for volunteering to take part in such a monumental fight. Obviously he believed whole heartedly in the cause. He survived the war but unfortunately we don't know a whole lot about his experience. We can only imagine. What we do know we have found through archived documents. His company was assigned to protect the area around Washington, D.C. and of course, the White House.

This Memorial Day I'd like to say "Thank You" to all those who have done the same. Stood up for what they believed in and risked their lives to save ours and our Freedom.

I hope you do the same.

Hatpin History - A Woman's Crowning Glory

Stunning , sparkly, and very sharp. Mysterious.

The Hatpin.

A vintage piece of the past we no longer use. But for some reason, we love to collect and display them.

Here is a bit of history of the hatpin from The American Hatpin Society:

Prized by antique collectors today, hatpins were commonplace and controversial. They ranged in size between 6 and 12 inches long depending on the size of the hat they needed to secure to a woman’s head. They were fancy or practical, made from every available material ranging from precious metals to gemstones to plastics and paste. Hatpin makers marketed their products to the various levels of society, ranging from the extremely ornate and expensive to the simple and functional. The heyday of the hatpin was between the 1880's and 1920’s, after which hair styles became short and the hats became smaller making the pins unnecessary.
(Thank you - SOLD!)

I've been collecting hatpins for several years now. I had seen them in antique malls and had been drawn to their glitz and glamour. After I started attending local auctions I was able to acquire a few of my own to keep...and some to pass on to others for their own collections. They always seem to sell out. They get harder and harder to find and unfortunately, for the antique dealer, the price keeps going up when bidding. But I just had to bid on a hatpin holder and a few pins for the Bella Rosa store. It just seemed like the right fit.

This one is my has a ruby colored stone in it. I just have one hatpin left in the store, Bella Rosa Antiques, if you'd like to see what's available.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Items Just Added In Time for MEMORIAL DAY SALE

Just in time for tomorrow's kick off to Memorial Day Sale... Etched Apothecary Jar
Fenton Hobnail Basket
(Thank you - SOLD!)
Vintage "Lustrite" Rouge
in pretty violet decorated box

Shabby Roses Teacup & Saucer Set
Vintage Vanity Powder Jar

"Brand New" Vintage Hankies - SOLD

Everything is 20% OFF including these newly listed items as well as the items in our Fleamarket, "Flea Bella."

Sale starts tomorrow, Thursday, May 22nd....but we've already started marking things down to make sure we're ready in time! Check out the website you might be able to catch the sale early...Bella Rosa Antiques Memorial Day SALE Click Here to Save!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Memorial Day Prep + Upcoming Antique Sale!

Ah....summer. It's just around the corner now and I am thrilled. My favorite time of year. Sure the pretty flowers are beautiful during spring, but there's just something about summer, for me, that is special.

We'll be decorating our antique booth for Memorial Day with the things I've gathered for the pictures shown here.

And to celebrate the first "holiday" in our new Bella Rosa Antiques shop...we'll be having A MEMORIAL DAY SALE! Whoo hoo!

Everything will be 20% off, even the items in "Flea Bella." Lots of great ideas, lots of great items you've seen but didn't buy, are now available at great bargains!

It all starts this Thursday, May 22nd until Monday, May 26th.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Local Auction ~ Lots of New Vintage Treasures!

Pink Depression Glass Bon Bon Dish

Last night my dear husband came home from a local auction with a twinkle in his eye. He does this every now and then, and just loves it. What he brings home is always fun to dig through. Lots of new things to place in my Bella Rosa online shop, our antique booth..and maybe even some for ebay.

Pretty Lilac n Violets Rouge Box

But which goes where? This is the dilemma. What do I put in the online store, on ebay, or in the booth? I now have three places for these things to go. It can be a bit overwhelming. I just take it one thing at a time.

Pair of Glove Trees from GIMBELS

He brought home some silverplated items, vintage jewelry, old children's books, toys, pink depression glass, vintage clothing, some military items and more. I really liked the boxes of UNUSED vintage greeting cards. I'm thinking these will go great in my ephemera this was an easy choice.

Hilton Hotel Silverplated Cocktail Set


I'm also thinking of having a Memorial Day sale to make room for some of the vintage jewelry on the site. Maybe the sale will be for the whole website. I need to figure out how to do this technically. I'd also like to send out emails when I'm having a sale. If anyone knows of a great service that does this, please feel free to leave me a comment.

Vintage Easter Decorations

In the meantime, I'll be cleaning, taking pictures, and pricing items (for the booth.) Never a dull moment, this antique biz. And if you're an "addict" like we are, you know how much fun it is!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Collecting Capodimonte ~ History of Porcelain from Italy

There is something special about Capodimonte porcelain. The delicate beauty of these pieces and the obvious quality of artwork makes them timeless. Just to see the petals up close, created by artisans who put so much love and dedication into their work is a feast for the eye. My Grandmother always had a few pieces on display in her home so I think the women in my family tend to collect it for nostalgic reasons as well as for its beauty.

The white rose figurine above may be found in our store under "Viva l'Italia." This is a category I just created specifically for items made in Italy.

Below you will find some fun facts about this pretty porcelain as well as collecting it today. (Credit is given below for the paraphrased info.)

History of Capodimonte

Capodimonte porcelain actually dates back centuries. The first pieces fired were produced in Naples, Italy from 1759 to 1780 at the Royal Factory, according to the Capodimonte Limited website.

“The Capodimonte name was synonymous with the finest quality Neapolitan porcelain and ceramics from that period onward,” the site explains. The Royal Factory, which no longer exists, came to being when King Charles of Naples married Maria Amalia. She was the granddaughter of Augustus II, who in addition to being the King of Poland, also founded the first European hard paste porcelain factory in Meissen, Germany. King Charles developed a curiosity about porcelain through his new wife’s family. This interest turned into a passion that led to many years of research and development before the Royal Factory came about.

Once the formula for porcelain paste was perfected, many skilled craftsmen and artisans, both men and women, worked to produce fine Capodimonte pieces. Plates, vases, small and large bowls, tea and coffee cups, large and small jugs, sugar bowls, tea caddies, teapots, snuff-boxes, and walking stick handles mounted in gold are among the fine pieces produced at the factory in Italy.

The factory eventually moved to Spain and back to Italy again several decades later under the direction of King Charles’ son, Ferdinand. During this period, the shape, style and decoration of the porcelain production was similar to that of the original Capodimonte factory.

Collecting Capodimonte Today

Today, most collectors of Capodimonte porcelain find mid-century electric lamps, figurines , molded flowers, and other decorative objects made during the last century. Most of these are marked with some variation of the blue N under a crown mark; many of them are also marked with factory marks.

(This post was taken from information found on

Friday, May 9, 2008

LuRay Pastels ~ Classic Dinnerware with Popular Appeal

One of my favorite things to write about is LuRay dinnerware. Maybe it is because I personally have been collecting it for the past 16 years. That's a long time to be connected to a set of dishes. But these dishes have what it takes to stand the test of time. They have classic shapes and wonderful colors that just...well, make you FEEL GOOD. I love looking at them through the glass on our kitchen cabinets.

LuRay Pastels were made by a company called Taylor, Smith, & Taylor. They were located in Chester, West Virginia. The line was introduced in 1938 and it was definitely a hit for the company. Women liked the soft colors because they could set a fashionable looking table without the flash of the bright neon in other dinnerware lines of the day. The colors were given these names: Sharon Pink, Surf Green, Windsor Blue, Persian Cream and Chatham Gray. The gray line was not introduced until 1949. Because it was not a popular choice it was discontinued in the 1950's. Collector's today will pay a higher price for it however, because it is more difficult to find.
I have chosen not to collect the gray and have only the four original colors in my display.

(Thank you, these have SOLD)

There are two shapes in the LuRay Pastels line. One is called Empire and the other is Laurel. The difference can be found in the hollow ware vs. the flatware. The hollow ware is all Empire while the flatware was made in the Laurel shape. The two blend nicely together creating a classic line of dinnerware that, in my opinion, has kept its appeal over the generations and probably will for the future.

Check back if you love this dinnerware as much as I do. I'll be posting more pictures, information, and history. And if you are looking to add a few pieces to your collection, I'm selling some of my extras here in the Bella Rosa Antiques the salt and pepper shakers seen above.

Feel free to leave me a comment about your collection. I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tea for Two ~ The History of TEA

Ever wonder who started the habit of drinking tea? I suppose tea drinkers would not consider this a habit, but an EVENT. A way to start the morning, or to relax in the early afternoon. Either way, it has been around for a very long time and made its way around the world from China. The first teapot reportedly came from the Ming Dynasty. The beautiful rose teapot and matching teacup shown above and below are not from the Ming Dynasty, but made and handpainted in Bavaria. They can be found in our online store, Bella Rosa Antiques. This lovely tea set came to us by way of a Pennsylvania small town country auction.

According to the website Memorial Hall Museum Online American Centuries:

Tea was "considered an exotic beverage when it first made its way onto the tables of the wealthiest Europeans and American colonials, tea was valued in the west as a very expensive medicine. Believed to cure the respiratory ailments, headaches, giddiness, heaviness, colds, and dropsy, tea was reputed to be a restorative against the loss of body fluids caused by excessive sweating and purging, two common medical curatives of the day."

In the 1770's and 1780's it became fashionable to drink tea from the saucer, perhaps to allow the tea to cool. One consistent characteristic of tea wares at that time was the deep saucer, borrowed from China. Later in the century, cup plates became part of the tea set and allowed the tea drinker to "park" her cup on the small cup plate while she sipped tea from the saucer -- all this in a seated position instead of standing, as before.

Often kept in locked cabinets or small wooden boxes called tea caddies, fresh tea was brewed in the morning. It was then not unusual for the tea leaves to be strained and reused for tea in the afternoon. Tea sets often included a tea bottle, a small lidded flask-like vessel, which held a modest supply of dry tea leaves. Because of the expense of tea, it was considered just as rude for the guest to refuse more as for the hostess not to refill one's empty cup. Generosity and acceptance were the fashion so, in America, guests learned they must turn their teacups upside down when they had enough.

The handless cup and saucer above and found in our shop, is consistent with many of the patterns and transfer wares found in Pennsylvania. As mentioned earlier, hot tea was poured into saucers to cool...but first it was poured into a handless cup. Tea was drunk from the saucer while the cup was placed on a cup plate to protect the table.

However you like to enjoy your tea, the history of it is fascinating. Also fascinating are all the different designs and patterns found on tea sets along with their dainty partners.....cups and saucers.

Feel free to tell us about your love of tea, your favorite tea set, or any other tea tidbit! Go ahead...we'll put the water on for a boil.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

~ Bella Rosa GRAND OPENING Celebration! ~

It's finally here! The big moment has arrived! A vision, a dream, a lot of hard work, but lots of fun, too.

The Grand Opening of my new online shop, Bella Rosa Antiques.

And to celebrate, I've been accepting entries for a giveaway. I love having giveaways. They are actually a lot of fun to execute. Again, I recruited my Dear Hubby to help pick the winners. He asked what the prize was. I told him a $15.00 voucher towards merchandise on the website. He thought about and said "Fifteen dollars for your GRAND opening?"

And I realized he was right.

All these years of thinking of having a store, all the years of learning about antiques, all the time and effort put in by the web designer at Retro Boutiques... all came down to this: it had to be bigger.

I mean, this is really a cause for celebration! But how was I going to "up the ante" at this point? I had advertised the fifteen dollar prize.

So, we decided that not just ONE person was going to win, but TWO!!!!!!

So, he picked two names out of this vintage bowl.

And the winners are......

Michelle of I'm a Little Teapot and Penny of Lavender Hill Studio!

CONGRATULATIONS, ladies! Thank you so much for entering the drawing. I'll be contacting you with information on how to get your 15.00 vouchers.

And thank you to EVERYONE who entered the giveaway, who gave lots of support and advice, and for all of the kind words. It really helps.

Feel free to stop by today and have a look around during the GRAND OPENING of Bella Rosa Antiques. There have been many new items added since two weeks ago.

Have a very BELLA day!