Archive for the ‘Glass’ Category

We are all trying to find the perfect gift for our family members. The “perfect gift” can have a whole spectrum of definitions, from a big screen television to the original, or a copy, of the only picture of your mother’s grandparents.

Listed below are some ideas for gifts that might fit the definition of the “perfect gift”.  Most show creativity and thoughtfulness rather than an expensive price tag.  But there are a few of those too.

1.     Many specialty businesses can ship a package to your giftee.  If you are sure that someone will be home to care for a plant, an amaryllis is an enjoyable indoor plant that produces plenty of growth. Several “big name” garden companies will ship gorgeous plants for you.  Or you can find them at local suppliers, and mail them yourself, for much less.  We have some beautiful Christmas cacti in different shades…ready to bloom.

2.      I am a big fan of magazines.  A monthly subscription provides a treat to a senior citizen who might not get much mail, or to a young person, or couple, away from family and friends.  Some magazines offer a buy one, get one free feature; and most give significant discounts for a subscription.  You can pick up several different magazines, on a single topic, at your local bookstore for a one time gift.  Or buy one, or more, to wrap and use the coupons inside to order a follow-up subscription. It is not a very “green” gift, unless the paper is recycled. 

3.      If you are older, or on a limited income, copies of photos of “ancestors” are a treasure to most young adults.  You can make this a copy in a frame of just one special photo.  Or, you can do an entire album of family ancestors.  I am not a big fan of cutting up photos of people to place in modern “scrapbooks”.  I think that you can lose valuable context, such as the family home in the background, when you cut up photos.  If you are going to do a fancy scrapbook, make sure that a copy of the “whole” photo is saved for its information value; and that you write the information about people and places on the back in a fine point permanent marker that you test on the edge of the photo first.

4.      One Christmas, my parents gave each of their grand-daughters a family quilt made by my paternal grandmother.  These were hand-quilted when their great-grandmother was not much older than them.  They all, naturally, were thrilled with that gift.  How much more excited might they have been to receive the quilts directly from their great-grandmother while she was still alive?  And how excited would my grandmother have been to give those gifts, and see the girls’ reactions? But none of us knew that the quilts existed, or where they were until my parents found the quilts, and my father remembered the stories about the quilts, after she had passed away.

 5.      Antique shops are a wonderful source of interesting and unique “old” items.  You might find the fourth bowl to a four bowl set that your mother had accidently broken. You might find a nautical print that would remind your father of a favorite vacation place.  Or a set of dishes for your sister that exactly match her china pattern. Or a set of glasses for a couples’ new home. Or you might find a treasure that would be “new” like a great old bowl for your daughter, or old eyeglasses for your eye doctor’s office.  We once bought an “antique” porch rocker for my mother-in-law.  It turned out afterwards, that the rocker had belonged to an acquaintances’ family member. Small world!!

 6.      The world of the internet has expanded all gift-giving possibilities.  There are, naturally, gift certificates to all sorts of specialty companies from Amazon to White Flower Farm.  You can direct the gift certificate toward a special plant or leave it wide open for anything from a book to a tool. Most places will send the gift certificate with a catalog to choose the gift from…or you can find an item and have it gift wrapped and shipped/insured.  Some places only offer specific priced gift cards.  Or they have expiration dates.  Our Shops gift certificates are for any amount and have no expiration date, and are good for either the Antique Shop, the greenhouse, or a horse!

 7.      Live animals.  I generally do not recommend purchasing a live animal for a gift for someone.  But, you can give a gift certificate for a particular type of pet, with the promise to go shopping together for it at a later date.  If your friend or family member is in to “buy local” or “sustainable agriculture”, you could purchase anything from a carton of organic eggs weekly for a specific period of time to a dozen chickens of their choice!

 8.       A trip to someplace local.  There are museums, aquariums, movie theaters, live community theater, and a myriad of other places that you can give a gift of tickets to.  Or better yet, do something as a family or a group.  It doesn’t have to be immediate.  The promise, fulfilled, of a trip to the movies or the art museum, whatever, gives the recipient something to look forward to and relish the memory of.  It does not have to be a high priced event to be memorable. Make sure that you bring a camera, or take a few photos on your cellular phone!

 9.        Especially if you are visiting, or being visited by, multi-generations, a trip to some event or place can cure “cabin fever” and “too much” togetherness.  Don’t forget that young children need to move around. And older folks might need a rest.  Plan your activities to allow for the needs of all the members of your group.  So that you will all get the most enjoyment from the event.

 10.      If you have moved to a new area far from home, that has a “local” newspaper, a gift subscription for your family lets them know what is going on in your new “home base”.  On the flip side, a subscription to the “local” paper gives someone who has moved away a recurring reminder of “home”.

 Most of these items can range from a low cost gift to a high dollar one depending on how you approach it. Remember that building “memories” with your family is a precious gift that keeps on giving…

Bake cookies “from scratch” together. Type Grandmother’s recipes in to a computer program and give a copy to each unit of the family.  Go for a drive to look at Holiday Lights. Watch an annual Christmas “special” on TV or buy the DVD to watch several times.  Play Christmas carols while you clean the house.  Read Santa Mouse and have gifts in the tree. Read the Christmas story.  Go to a Christmas Eve Church Service.  Buy a present for a child that will have none.  Shop together for groceries and donate some to your local food pantry.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repurpose.

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Do you have to have everything match just so? Do you have a mixture of colors and styles of dishes? Do you use paper plates, so that you can toss everything out?
I have a set of “our” china that I use for one holiday meal. And a set of “family” china that we use for another.
Our family is very fortunate, in that we have a lot of physical memories of and from our ancestors. Many people are not that fortunate. But this is a way that they can build their own memories.
We have been married many decades now. And have bits and pieces left from different sets of dishes that we have had over the years. Our first “everyday” dishes were white stoneware with a scroll design. They were a nice plain base for whatever food that I was learning to cook during the early days of marriage.

Some of our friends joined together and bought us our first “set” of dishes…everyday and fancier dinner stoneware, a white main plate, with a shades of brown border pattern, from Mikasa. Over the years we have had some other styles of plates, including stoneware ones with small blue pineapples (the symbol of hospitality); and clear pressed glass ones with an overall floral pattern.
My Grandparents had started to buy my “hope chest” fancy china place settings, and added to them for the first main events, holidays, etc of our marriage. These were my very simple, yet elegant, Lenox place settings, a creamy white with a pair of silver bands. Forty+ years later, these are our main special occasion place settings.
A few years ago, John’s Aunt and Uncle passed away. They had a set of dishes that his grandmother had “china painted” on the embossing. We bought these at a “family discount” during their Living Estate downsizing sale. We use these for a few special meals a year, and recall family dinners over decades using that set of china.

A couple years ago, two of our grand-daughters bought us lovely stoneware dishes, for a Christmas gift. The main part of the plates are different solid colors, with all having white borders. These work very well for all sorts of meal presentations…I really do like a solid color for the main plate. It is a nice background for whatever you are serving. I do not like how an overall pattern “fights” with the food placed upon it.
Our daughters have inherited china and “everyday” dishes from both sides of the family. My paternal grandparents had a tiny floral pattern on their European china. Our oldest daughter inherited those pieces. The china has traveled to many states with her and is still doing well. Our youngest inherited their everyday “early” Melmac in muted Autumnal colors. I never cared for those dishes. But she has made a cult around them, and I must admit the soup bowls are just the right size! This same daughter has also inherited a very fancy set of Golden Wheat patterned Lenox, that became hers from a Great Great Aunt and Uncle through her father’s side of the family.

Our middle daughter has inherited John’s mother’s Blue Willow china: The very fancy pieces and the more everyday dishes. There is so much of it that it took boxes and boxes to pack it.
Currently in the Antique Shop, we have a full set of Old Homestead green patterned china from John’s parents. We also have a few very cute pieces of a yellow dish with colonial farmstead patterns on them. We also have sent to auction a set of yellow depression ware (colored glass with pressed patterns). We still have some gorgeous pieces of green depression ware in various patterns that John’s mother collected over the years.
In storage, are some pastel plates (not a complete set) that my mother bought in a box lot at auction eons ago, and her fancy stoneware, in an Autumnal orange poppy pattern. Plus she had odds and ends of previous “sets” of dishes, which are in boxes waiting to be utilized and remembered.
There are many points to this reminiscence. First, we are so very fortunate to have things from many generations back on both sides of the family. Second, we could never possibly absorb it all, and despite having three daughters; and three grand-daughters and a grand-son, there is only so much that we can pass down. Third, we are all great believers in recycling.
Antiques are a wonderful way to reduce, re-use, recycle, and repurpose. Instead of buying cheap plastic or metal trays to give out Christmas cookies, or other food gifts, use pieces of old china or stoneware. If you do not have family hand-me-downs, you can find pieces at antique shops, auctions, flea markets, Estate sales, and charity stores, where your purchases assist others.
A wonderful restaurant that we went to in Amsterdam was just opening. They invited all their friends to come to a Grand Opening dinner. They were asked to bring a place setting and leave it as the “price” of their meal or “gift” to the restaurant. None of the place settings matched. And despite my preference for a plain center on my plates, we all enjoyed the thought and colorfulness that went into this restaurant’s décor. And it assisted the owners with an expensive part of opening their restaurant. It also lured friends and acquaintances back to see “their” dishes at work, great marketing!
We are very conscious of “sustainable” living. When we go to Slow Food events, we bring our own place settings, and utensils, bag them up at the end of the meal, and bring them back home.

Other friends of ours have picked out special place settings over the years, and each family member has “their” own dishes at the table. This works best with a solid color tablecloth, or placemats.

Older dishes at a picnic or barbeque are more solid than paper products, and hold up under sauces, cutting with utensils, etc. If something gets broken in transit back and forth from the kitchen or grill, it is not a catastrophe.
So, reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose and re-enjoy the family tableware again and again. Thanks for the Memories.

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We are announcing the first autumn 2010 Multi-family, multi-generational YARD SALE, including Estate items.

It will be held:

Thursday, September 2nd

Friday, September 3rd

Saturday, September 4th

From 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

At 137 McMinn County Road 860 (Strawberry Lane), Delano

There will be:



Household Goods

Vintage coats

Regular clothes – men’s, women’s and teen’s

Vintage jewelry and Casual fun jewelry




Old Linens

Men’s Items

Craft and sewing items, including old patterns

Books and Magazines

working computer pieces



Other Surprises.

Additional items will be added each day

Also: There will be Special Sales at The Shops AT Morgan Lane

2214 Columbus Road, (McMinn County Road 969) Delano

A bit further down, and off, the Bowater Road

Regular store hours: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on the same three days

There will be:

A Sale on Houseplants+ from the Greenhouse

More Books    

A clearance section in the Antique shop

A daily drawing for gift certificates to the Shop and Greenhouse

and other surprises

Maps will be available at each location, to get to the other.

Call 423 263 0824 (423 284 0899 cellular) for information…

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While you are out and about, don’t forget to check yard sales, flea markets, and antique shops for interesting and useful containers for planting and as vases for cut flowers.

Antiques can have extended lives being used for their original purposes.  But they are also useful as “containers”. 

Coffee pots and tea pots are a creative way to decorate a table with cut flowers.  And a cute way to transport flowers for a hostess gift or to a friend.

Old baskets from the flea market, thrift shop, or yard sales, are a nice way to plant a low growing herb like thyme or salad burnet.  They can be grouped on grass or in a flower bed, or even on an informal patio area.  I prefer “natural” hued baskets.  But a bright teal, pink, yellow, or red basket can be a fun accent.

I totally astonished some friends that love antiques by planting in some really nice pieces of enamelware.  I put down a layer of stones  prior to the dirt.  Generally, I would suggest using enamelware that already has rusted through holes, for better drainage.  But in this case, there were some flat basins and tall pots that I wanted to utilize.  One of my friends couldn’t stand it and moved the plants and then cleaned the basin out.  But some generic pots in a big box store are expensive…and generic.  Interesting antiques or vintage items can be more complementary to the plants, and cost the same, or less, than other plainer containers for planting.

I also pick up vases at yard sales, or thrift shops for taking plants as gifts, or for sale at the Farmer’s Markets.  I like clean, medium sized ones, with not too many scratches or water marks. 

“Canning jars” are another nice way to transport a gift of flowers.  The old blue ones are my favorites.  But the newer pasta sauce jars can be cleaned and utilized for larger, more casual displays.  Currently, the daylilies, black-eyed susans, and shasta daisies are flowering profusely here in my gardens.  Canning jars are just the right size for a mixed bouquet.  Maybe with some bronze fennel or tansy stems tucked in for foliage.

Old chairs are another way to add presence, height and uniqueness to a garden.  Sometimes, I’ll just place an old colorful chair or bench near the garden, or under a tree.  But I have also put  brightly painted straight backed chairs in a flower border…with a basket or pot of herbs cascading out and over the seat and rails.  I also had an old wicker rocker that spent a few years in the garden.  It was not sturdy to begin with and didn’t seem to warrant repairs. I put an old pillow out with it and some varying height baskets and pots and plants in the ground nearby.   It eventually had to go to the scrap wood and branches pile that we keep on the edge of the field for birds and bunnies to nest in.  But we received several years of pleasure with it out in the garden.  If the chairs are not very sturdy, make sure that you pot a pot or basket on them, so a guest doesn’t accidently sit on it and get hurt.

Single plates that have chips or cracks can make good saucers for your plants that are in plainer solid color pots.  Terra cotta pots look nice on an enamel plate or stoneware piece.  Solid colored planters look sweet on dessert plates with frilly edges and/or flower-patterns on the borders. 

If you have pets, plates or platters can be a charming substitute for a pet dish.  And stainless steel mixing bowls are easily cleaned water pans.  In the summertime, the stainless steel bowls with some iced water or cool water stay cooler longer for your pets.

Our motto around the farm is reduce, reuse and recycle. Repurposing vintage, antique or even just “old” items gives your home and garden areas character and style.

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Harriet loved to collect things.

She had all sorts of kitchen utensils, pots and pans spanning many generations of all sides of the family.

Cabinets full of lovely cut glass sparkled under the dining room chandelier.

While kitchen and dining paraphernalia was a great joy to her, her favorite thing was clothes. She really would have loved to be a clothing designer. One whole room of her huge Victorian house was dedicated to sewing and various needlework materials. Since she loved to collect things, she kept clothes.

She not only kept her clothes, she kept those of others. She had many outfits from the 1940s. She had her own clothes. She kept several gift outfits from Barbara, her sister in law. Her mother in law, Etta, downsized and later passed on, and among the items that Harriet brought home probably included hats. Her husband Westen’s aunt, Lorene, also downsized and later passed on, and among the items that Harriet brought home probably included some hats. Her mother, Mary, lived with her and Westen. When Mary passed, Harriet kept many of her mother’s things, including clothes, and probably included hats. There were also a few men’s hats found for the collection.

Even some hat boxes.

And hat pins.

Of course, there were also gloves and pocketbooks, compacts and jewelry. But those are another story.

In all, there appear to be approximately forty-seven hats, and some boxes. We, a son and daughter in law, three grand-daughters, three great-grand-daughters, a grandson, and other family appreciate the hats. But we cannot possibly utilize them all.

So, Harriet’s hats are in our family antique shop.  Some have already been sold.  Some are marked with their size. Some are one size fits (mostly) all.  Caitrin has cataloged them. Elizabeth has photographed them. And they are for sale.  We will have some in our ebay store soon at fixed prices, and also for bid.  In the meantime, we will be putting up a gallery of the hats. SOON. 

They are in the shop, as well as some gloves, hat pins, and purses.

I’ve been asked to do some ladies club shows with the hats.  We may do a few. But we are more likely to keep them in the shop for visitors.  Perhaps we’ll do a book.  We can definitely do an article!  And at the moment, they are a pleasant reminder of days gone by, when everyone wore hats to complete their outfits, for church, and visiting, and luncheons. Memories are precious.  We may even find photos that match the hats.  We have noted photos that matched some of the purses! We’ll keep you posted.

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It is almost June…time for several special events in our area of SoEast Tennessee.

In a couple weeks, there will be a Literary Walk in Etowah, sponsored by the Etowah Merchants and Friends Association, which we are members of, even though we are a bit further south in Delano.
The Walk will be the weekend of the 12th of June. Watch here for more information.

There will be a number of authors visiting the area and doing book signings and reading from their books.

In the spirit, we will be offering copies of Britta’s book about her blind dog, San, for sale. Elizabeth took the photos of him here on the farm. See information about San, and his book at http://www.SanTheDog.com

We will also have copies of Jim Long’s Herb and Garden books for sale. These include Civil War culture, designing garden attractions and various ways to utilize herbs.

Farmer’s Markets will be opening also. We will be at several of them, check out the greenhouse site (www.TheGreenhouseAtMorganLane.com) for more information about where we will be.  Of course, you can find someone here on the farm Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00am until 4:00pm.

In the Shop, we have some cute plates, platters, serving bowls and dishes to make your Summer picnics and covered dish suppers something special.

Keeping the promise of  Memorial Day and Flag Day (Aunt Vera’s birthday) we will continue our sale on anything red, white, or blue.  Extra discounts for Veterans, with proof.

We have Gift Certificates available for new graduates (to stock dorm rooms or apartments), unique wedding gifts, and for Father’s Day.

Come visit.

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We’ve had quite a few visitors to the Shop, and Farm recently. Today, we had some ladies from throughout Tennessee, come as part of a get-together. They shopped in the shop and in the greenhouse.
We also had some visitors come from quite a few counties away, to take a picture of our Appalachian quilt square. The square is becoming a favorite spot here in Southeast Tennessee. People take Appalachian Quilt Trail tours (AQT) or they come from our surrounding counties, to get their picture taken in front of the square. It makes a nice background for a multi-generation photo, or a seasonal family ‘growth’ photo. You can get a tour brochure here at the farm, or go to www.vacationaqt.com for more information.
And, our irises are close to full bloom at the moment. The daffodils were gorgeous this Spring. But not much compares to our irises. We have waves of the same variety, and clusters of various colors and sizes. Lots of the culinary herbs are putting on a first Spring show of color too. The catmint, bronze fennel, salad burnet, and Spanish Eyes Lavenders are just a few of the herbs showing off at the moment.
We have some nice old inexpensive vases in the Shop; and we can cut you bouquets to go with your vases.

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