Monday, 17 July 2017


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Monday, 25 May 2015

Midwinter Stonehenge

As much as I rant about the ugly clothes designs of the 1970's, I am constantly drawn to innovative 1970's china patterns, and the Midwinter range personifies all the "good stuff" about the era and I was lucky enough to buy an 8 place set plus additional items of the "Earth" pattern recently.

Midwinter Stonehenge came in many designs, most notably creation, sun, moon earth, night and day. With similar base colour they were made to work in conjunction with each other.

Well named, the Earth pattern is well... earthy.

With the studio hand-crafted look of the organic brown stripes and rustic rough edges, it has iron specks in the oatmeal coloured body glaze and structured straight sides with chunky handles.

 Each piece looks unique.

Roy Midwinter headed up the Midwinter pottery in the 1950's and 1960's and introduced a number of innovative styles such as Stylecraft, Fashion and Fine shapes. But, by 1968 the business got into financial strife and had merged with Meakin, and by 1970 Wedgwood owned both brands.

He still managed the brand and launched Stonehenge in 1973 with the Earth design by Eve Midwinter and others by Jessie Tait.

Earth was discontinued in 1982.

This set and other Midwinter are for sale in the Vintage Treasure online shop,  patterns include Sienna, Stylecraft, Modern, Fashion and Fine Tableware.

Summer pattern

Thursday, 14 May 2015

It's so de stressing to be distressing...

Yes - all these pictures are my own work.. and some are still works in progress. 
Kylie from Vintage Vagabond is sharing space in the shop beginning in June and last week in reply to my complaining how ugly an old cabinet was, simple said "paint it!"
Drawers salvaged from a dressing table
make lovely sweet treasure drawers in
distressed antique white colour.

I went to a fundraiser at the local Hospice a couple of years ago - they had an Annie Sloane disciple raving about the joys of painting and distressing furniture. She was a total addict and sounded like she had attacked everything in her home, and she was so happy! 

Grey distressed steps now useful as a mini book case
or small shelf unit.

I came away with mixed feelings.. really excited to give it a go and yet, was I going to dive into the next skip I saw for an old door I could paint and sand and put behind my bed in the name of a shabby chic headboard, how naff.. I think not!

While I ventured over the hill to Fenwick Vintages in Raumati and bought my first test pots of "Antique White" and "French Grey" a few weeks later, they sat on the shelf for 18 months unopened. I wasn't inspired and there wasn't really enough paint to transform anything bigger than a match box! Actually the wine table was completed with one pot.
French grey drinks table
works well for a lamp

Shocked at the price to get more paint, I googled recipes for alternative chalk paint recipes to find there is no shortage of sites out there, (some 5 years old... no-one said I was cutting edge) giving their favourite recipes for mixing up plaster-of-paris or calcium-carbonate concoctions. 

My favourite so far - now proudly featured in the shop

SalvagedInspirations is my favourite site and recommends calcium carbonate over plaster-of-paris. 

Now, it's not that easy to source calcium carbonate in Martinborough and so a few months ago my trusted adventurer friend Chris brought over a table and we shared a $2 bag of plaster-of-paris, Perfect for the first foray! 

Must say she hasn't been quite as prolific, but has achieved fine quality!

Yesterday, I began again in earnest...with half full pots of discarded "Spanish white" from years ago and a pot of grey tint colour at the  ready, I lined up number of tables, chairs, book cases and little drawers, ready to be given their shabby chic make over.

First off white coat on a rather
tatty chair gives it a new life

And now to consider seat cover

painting... sanding.... painting...!

...and it was brilliant, what a lovely de-stressing activity!!

My first bag of calcium carbonate arrived today from Christchurch, and while I'm no Kirsty Allsopp, I can't wait for a another "de stressing day" to refine my skills.

I had so much fun painting, sanding, distressing, waxing, painting again... I'm not touching that lovely 1950's oak, or native rewarewa, but I am totally hooked on this painting transformation lark!

Come on into the shop if you are in Martinborough and share your own stories... 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

This little light of mine....

I'm gonna let it shine...

Yes, I 'm surrounded by vintage light bulbs which are actually lamps, because they are not all bulb shaped and anyway the boxes say lamps not bulbs! As I unpack a box of these goodies I am so amazed at how beautiful they are...

This is an old Westinghouse projection lamp.

On the black end of this it says "projection base down - 115v 1000 (wattage I assume?) Avg life 10 hours. From I what remember of my early days working in an office, a much shorter life if you don't switch the machine on and off at the right time... remember those yells of "don't switch it off!!"

These lamps come fully protected in a corrugated card but unfortunately no box. 

Inside the card were two different cautionary notes - dangerous business this projection stuff. 
I don't know exactly what age these lamps are but each one is quite a piece of art, which got my thinking and doing some research and I found all kinds of uses for old lamps some of which I have captured on a pinterest board

The jewellery items were of special interest to me especially as some of my bulbs are smaller and in multiple numbers, and these are in their original boxes.

Found this necklace for example is so cute! Some people are so creative!

Now there will be those of you who have spotted that the box of bulbs I have in stock must be from a Mazda car.... WRONG!! the word mazda was a trademark of General Electric (GE) from 1909 through to 1945 used for their incandescent light bulbs made in the USA.
And... what is even more interesting is that the word comes from Ahura Mazda whose name means light and wisdom.

One of my projection lamps was made by a company called "Stella" and has such a cool box but I can find little about this company.

Shame really as it by far the coolest lamp in the collection.

I even found a site for people who collect light bulbs, and not a Stella in sight!

The majority of my bulbs are smaller General Electric mazda lamps that didn't seem to have a specified purpose written on the boxes, small, perfectly formed, and here they look like they are glowing on their own - trick photography, or some would say bad photography!

So I had better get busy and put them into my online shop before it gets dark and I can't see what I am doing... ha ha!
Contact me if you are interested in buying any of these lovelies described or check out my online store VintageTreasure.

I have lots in stock for your craft project, collection or even to run your projector!

Oh and yes, a word about today...

there does seem to be a trend to enjoy the "beauty of the bulb" in new designs, a very talented local designer Paul Holstrom has some gorgeous pieces online and in his studio in Greytown.
Very cool!

So, one last thing... just how many vintage treasure dealers does it take to change a light bulb!

Monday, 10 February 2014

A close shave...

I feel a bit strange writing about shaving "stuff". I do buy vintage shaving items and have some in stock but I usually buy them for their quirkiness or great design and not because I love shaving stuff! As I do now have a collection I have added some to my online shop and wanted to feature them here.

For example this red mottled bakelite lidded container is lovely in itself. It has fitted compartments for the three piece razor and the blades.

A gentleman came into the store recently and asked if I had any cut throat razors in stock, I had three different ones and he wanted to buy them all. Well, I had to make a pretty fast decision at that point, as to the chance he was some kind of Jack the Ripper character or a normal bloke who wanted to buy a cut throat razor... or two! It would be so embarrassing if today's sale makes tomorrow's crime headlines!

More recently I had a couple of shaving enthusiasts and so have taken the time to sort through my stock and see what I have.
First, are the shaving sticks, I loved these before I knew they were shaving stick holders, I used to keep all kinds of goodies in them. This red bakelite container is made by Erasmic and still has the "stick" in it which at first made me think it must be 60 years old as I expect the container is from the 1940's, but then I found out that Erasmic shaving sticks are still being made. They are no longer available in gorgeous containers though. For those who don't know the shaving stick process it goes like this, thanks to Badger and Blade site a must visit for all interested in more information.

I cant leave the Colgate instructions without a sample of a Colgate stick, this one is empty but has Colgate written on the lid. Again a very cool mottled red bakelite container.

For those who chose to use soap there was always the mixing bowl to lather up the brush, and this one looks like it can be re-used as an ashtray. Before I bought this Clubman shaving bowl in the original packaging, I had a red "ashtray" and never realised it may have started life as a soap bowl. What do you think?

And of course Colgate had their lidded  soap bowls too.

All these items are available from my online shop

Some of the items no longer have contents but are great containers in themselves like these Gem and Gillette razor boxes from the 1940's or so in cool deco shaped bakelite.

I have a number of individual double sided safety razors, in various shades of brown, these samples are still in good condition today.

 Now onto razor blades... as soon as my husband knew I was writing this he recalled Gillette Blue Blade as one he remembered... but for all the wrong reasons. He remembers it went blunt as soon as it was used once or twice, meaning that hundreds of them were required over a short time. This probably lead to the introduction of what I call the razor blade safe - a little storage box for new blades, with a mailing slot at the back to safely deposit spent blades. This one still have a number of used ones as it is heavy and rattles! Also remember those metal bathroom cabinets with slots for spent blades to be safely stored?

These Smith razor blades have never been opened, lots of them for sale. Great for display or a collection and they probably still work fine!

And last but no least my favourite razor in stock, a one sided safety razor in its own fitted box. Made by Valet and seemingly over engineered based on today's throw away options but what a beauty!

So, for collectors or those with a passing curiosity, there are lots of items to bring back the memories of the good old days of shaving history.... and ooooh yes little bits of torn toilet paper and the styptic pencil!

Contact me if you are looking for something specific or visit my online shop.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Crown Lynn Books - now in stock

Sorry all sold out - July 2017

Crown Lynn: Celebration of an Icon
by Valerie Monk

The Author, Valerie Ringer Monk started out collecting Crown Lynn plates and 1970s mugs in second-hand shops. As her collection grew so did her desire to research the Crown Lynn story. In this, her first book, Crown Lynn: A New Zealand Icon, she shares the stories of the products and the people behind them. 

Often described as the essential reference for any Crown Lynn collector or enthusiast this book has A-Z listings of more than 300 Crown Lynn products.

     Packed with colour photographs of products and their backstamps to help collectors identify different Crown Lynn designs with interesting and quirky facts about a huge diversity of Crown Lynn items from decorative figurines, hand-potted vases and everyday domestic ware.

Paperback and gorgeous to browse

Crown Lynn Collector's Handbook is her second book dedicated to preserving Crown Lynn's colourful history.


Seasoned Crown Lynn devotees and new collectors alike will find plenty to assist their endeavours in this comprehensive guide to New Zealand's iconic pottery range.

A-Z listings of more than 300 Crown Lynn products include photographs of representative designs as well as their distinctive backstamps and marks to help collectors correctly identify and appreciate the origins of a huge diversity of Crown Lynn items produced over more than 50 years. 
Dimensions and dates are given for each entry, and the items are brought to life with fascinating snippets of Crown Lynn history, making this indispensable collector's guide an entertaining read.

Valerie Ringer Monk's meticulously researched Crown Lynn Collector's Handbook is the essential reference for anyone investing in everyday Crown Lynn domestic products through to figurines, artware and hand-potted pieces. Whether your preference is for quirky styles or more practical household items, in this handbook you'll discover new treasures to fossick for in second-hand shops or online.

A small paperback treasure to assist your collecting

Looking for a particular piece or pattern then let me know as we might have it in stock - we do have lots but it won't all fit into the shop... so please ask!!!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

In the press Motto ware.. The Martinborough Star!

For a little while now I have been contributing to the Martinborough Star our 100% local monthly newspaper.

Just a little piece (not too long, you lucky readers!) each month on something vintage that I like... it's been a lot of fun and so I though I would do a little link here and anyone reading can also link through, have a peek at the Star and see what a great town we have in the Wairarapa.

August edition was "Mottoware".

“Elp yersel...”
The bright simple and fun decoration on “Devonware” is unmistakable. The exact origin of pieces is hard to determine as the red clay pottery with thick slip decoration was used throughout Devon and the surrounding counties. Rustic, countryside inspired and a world away from the elegant china being produced in the Staffordshire potteries, the brown and cream wares of Dartmouth, Torbay, Exeter, Torquay, Newton Abbott and Watcombe are very distinctive.

 Probably the most recognisable and collected is the mottoware, a mainstay of the Torquay pottery. Early pieces were made, often by hand, from the red clay found in the area and dipped in a cream slip before being decorated with sayings such as “make hay while the sun shines”, “Elp yersel” and “still waters run deep”. 

The egg cup shown below says “new laid”. 

The words were chosen to elicit a smile, or as a souvenir from a local destination, and scratched into the drying leathery material. This technique is known as sgraffito. I like the fact that these are such personal pieces; you can see the different child like writing styles. The reverse side of pieces are decorated with naive coloured slip designs of cockerels, ships, windmills, ladies or the most common a cottage set beside trees. In fact this style of pottery is often called “Cottageware” or “Mottoware”

Over time things changed and by the 1950’s much of the red clay had been used up and the more available whiter clay was substituted. Wares tended to be cast rather than handmade. This did widen the range and teapots, toast racks, and bowls with moulded handles were added to previous limited shapes. The manufacture however didn’t allow for sgraffito handwriting and so these later items have their mottoes painted on using a brown paint.

Such fun to collect various mottoes and the tone of colours makes for a lovely display.
Most of these items are for sale in my Online Store or email me