Refurbishing and maintaining

Maintaining and displaying the items we’ve collected over the years is one of the most important parts of antiquing.

I do realize that my photo this week has lots of “things” in it and I do apologize for that, but I am trying to make a statement regarding staging as well as maintaining our treasures through the years. Collecting anything takes work and time — but the real factor evolves around the fact that everything we own needs to be taken care of correctly and when needed. These collections don’t necessarily require constant care (thank goodness) but our treasures which have been handed down to us definitely need a bit of maintenance perhaps or at least a bit of dedication to keeping the value of the item up to par.

If you will notice at the far left of my photo this week, the large urn-shaped vase with flowers in it is probably one of the older items I have. I purchased this at a show several years ago. I believe it “foreign” wood, not pottery. It has been hand-shaped and bored out by vintage methods. It needs to be oiled and that is what I feel will be a rather easy process. I have used Howard Products for many many years — and when I say many, I think I started using them from the very beginning of my collecting, finding, hunting, refurbishing and selling days. It must be over 40 years now. I have enjoyed their products so very much and they have a nice clean “orange” fragrance to the oil and the Feed-N-Wax products. It is not overbearing and definitely is a welcoming scent to your home, and pleasant when working with it also.

The handmade checkerboard/chess board is another item I purchased in New Mexico — Silver City, I believe. I have only had this piece for maybe 12 to 15 years, but it is due for an oiling as well. As long as the item has not been varnished and has only been stained, the Howard Products will penetrate the wood and keep it from splitting and/or cracking.

And I cannot forget to talk about the primitive drop-leaf table — very heavy so I think its walnut, possibly. It has a drawer at one end of the drop-leaf but you can access it even when the two drop table leaves have been raised and or extended. Again, this is definitely a find but not necessarily a bargain buy, but I hauled it all the way home to North Platte about the same time as I did the checker/chessboard. Again, it has not been varnished and definitely is in need of a good oiling. The nice thing about my Howard’s orange oil that I use, the smell is not overpowering and you can do it even in a closed area. I still open a window for a bit, of course — just plain common sense, naturally. It is a refined product and does still need a bit of airing out during and after the process of oiling it.

I am one of those people who loves to display her treasures — but it really makes it extremely hard dusting some days. I can’t complain too much as I have done it to myself — the collecting of treasures, I mean. I love to talk, write and visit about antiques. I like light restoration of my antiques. And I really like enjoying my antiques and collectibles. I shoot for the primitive items but love to throw in a bit of porcelain or enameled items, such as older enameled teapots with a touch of porcelain cups and saucers. I love the vintage advertising tins along with my wooden cookie and/or candy molds. I really love mixing in my vintage and antique teddy bears — some are Steiff and others are definitely German made but I’m not sure of the maker. Hate to say it, but many of my teddy bears are packed away due to a space concern.

I love the older ironstone pieces which were used in the bedrooms and hotel rooms, such as the pitcher and bowl sets (matching, of course) with the soap dish, the toothbrush vase-like holder, the tumbler and the tumble ups which were a small water container with a glass on top for a lid and matching toothbrush holder. Because the chamber pots are so big, I only have a couple of those though they don’t match the other ironstone patterns I have. All can be used for other purposes than what they were originally made.

Please note the “Magnolia” handbag, carry all tote which I received from my kids last Christmas. It’s just another touch of new with the old complimenting each other’s styles. Someday, I am going to make the long drive to see Waco, Texas, and the Magnolia shopping and eating areas that Joanna and Chip Gaines have created in Texas. One of my favorite TV shows — the Gaineses remodeling and refurbishing older homes into beautiful livable and lovable spaces for families to live and enjoy.

And I love to see them shopping in their favorite local antique shops and flea markets, as well as watching them refurbish or refinish their finds. The old can definitely be redefined or made for certain areas of a home and still be an eye-catching part of the theme of the home. What I really like about all of this antiquing business is the idea you can do as much or as little as you want to regarding your antique finds. You can just do enough to what I call “save” them so they will not totally disintegrate into fine dust or you can totally redo them into a manner of positively making them look like “new” if that is your style.

A touch of old with a touch of new seems to make a very nice combination of living styles. And, this is what my life with antiques and collectibles has been all about. Naturally, when I shop, I find things that I really like and hope someone else will too. I then have the problem of letting go of some of those special or rare finds and that is when my trouble begins. However, I am determined to start making better decisions regarding my choices of keeping or selling items, and that is my main objective in the next few years. Yes, I could have an auction and sell it all at once and my concerns would be over or I could sell piece by piece in my booth at the “Bushel & A Peck,” antique boutique at 510 E. Sixth St. here in North Platte which I hope to continue doing for years to come. And, I need to talk with family members also and see which pieces they would like, if any. Decisions we all need to make sometime in our so-called older age, and moving on to an easier lifestyle with fewer items to have to maintain and store.

But, please remember the important things — such as the saying you see at the bottom of my photo: “The joy of the journey is in the ride.” Boy, is that true for my antiquing and family experiences through my lifetime. And, just as a reminder, I am still having my “What’s It Worth” antique and collectible classes at Wild Bill’s on South Jeffers here in North Platte on Tuesday evenings. Feel free to call me at 308-530-4572 and ask more information. My “Trash & Treasures” articles through the past 28 years or so have brought me in touch with many of my friends today as well as reuniting with friends of yesteryear. Please remember one thing: Though it is not necessarily what we have that is important, but it is the friends we make and the miles we go through life that are our most treasured possessions. Have a nice week, everyone.

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